Covid-19: Go forward planningReading Time: 5 minutes
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” – Mike Tyson
Before March 2020, world markets were in full swing and unemployment was at an all-time low. In the blink of an eye Covid-19 was upon us. Chief U.S. economist at Oxford Economics summarises it best when he compares the plunge to “…a natural disaster, a terrorist attack and a financial shock all at once. We’ve never had this in history.”
Covid-19 has thrown the world into chaos. The disruption caused has challenged us all, exposed our blind spots and tested us to the extreme. But… It’s an opportunity. An opportunity to adapt, improve and transform. You just need the tools. The steps to face disruption head on and evolve into something stronger, leaner and ready for the upturn.
Below is our short three step process to help you get back on track.
1. Conduct a Short-Term (Covid-19) SWOT to gain a clear picture of the current state of your business
The first step is to go back to basics and gain a clear picture of the current state of your business. You can only chart an efficient path to get where you want to go, when you know precisely where you are. The best way to pinpoint your precise coordinates is with a short-term SWOT – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats analysis. One that identifies where you are in this exact moment.
Ask everyone on your leadership team to fill this out independently. Compile everyone’s answers and then come together to agree on your collective responses.
These are the internal capabilities, attributes, skills and/or assets within your control you can optimise.
These are the internal factors within your control you can eliminate.
These are those external factors that could help the organisation grow. Conceptualising and targeting these opportunities are in your control but the result is beyond your control.
These are the external factors that are beyond your control that are hurting or could hurt your organisation.
2. Now that you know where you are, chart a plan towards a Covid-19 offense
The following are a list of questions / issues that you should be considering.
- Have you done your 90 and 180 Day Cash Flow Projections and are you updating these weekly?
- Have you done your better, worse and “really bad” budget scenarios for 2020.
- What is the most likely case? Document your working assumptions.
- Have you made the expense cutting adjustments that you need to ensure Cash Flow?
- What are you doing to (a) secure additional cash resources and (b) reduce immediate expenses?
- What is your current cash flow status? How long can you stay in operation if sales stop?
- What are the borrowing opportunities available to bridge the gap?
- Relief – What government relief is helpful to manage through this crisis? Have you applied for all of the Government Assistance that is available to you?
1. Do you have a COVID-19 team in place that is meeting regularly to stay on top of latest news / working assumptions?
2. Have you done a “Brutal Reality” Exercise using the the following questions?
- Name three things you have been avoiding in your business. What can you do today to bring these issues out into the open?
- Which parts of your current reality – the parts out of your control – are you refusing to accept? How / why are you holding on to the past?
- What “red-flag mechanisms” can you put in place to make sure you are confronting reality?
- Will your offerings / products still be viable in a post-Covid-19 world?
- Market strategy – Has your the business model shifted affecting distribution channels, core customer, margins OR something else?
- Do you need to decide if / how you will pivot or stay the course and what new opportunities are available for us?
- Acquisition – Are there any companies that you could pursue that would complement your offerings/business?
- Contracts – What contracts could be renegotiated?
- Restart Plan – Do you have a plan for the first 30 days, and does it include scenarios if things change?
- Information access – What employees are single holders of information that if they became ill would place risk on the business?
- Virtual considerations – What needs to happen with technology or processes to move to a full virtual environment?
- Personnel Management – What is your restart date and what essential employees must return first?
- Physical considerations – Does the office space have to be redesigned, do employees need PPE, what other protocols need to be adopted?
- Policies and Procedures – Do we have new operating policies for our employees, guests, and customers that you’ll interact with?
- Meeting rhythms – How will you stay connected with everyone in a virtual environment?
- Company culture – Who is the culture warrior during these times and is keeping the workforce in harmony?
- Team retention – How can you stay connected to those furloughed or laid off to keep them engaged so they are not lost?
- Hiring – Are you positioned to take advantage of talent that becomes available?
- Employee development – What can you do to boost personnel with training and development? Is everyone on the team a B+ or better?
- As a core leadership team, what is the common language you want to use when communicating with employees?
- What is your formalised process for addressing questions your team have?
- Emotional and family support – What employees and families have fallen on hard times or need help in order to be able to work?
- What are you doing to help your customers and retain current business?
- What do customers need today that they didn’t need two months ago?
- How are you making it easy for your customers to do business with you.
- Customer communication – What are your communication rhythms and strategies for connecting with customers?
- How should you be reaching out to your customers?
- What are you communicating that will build confidence in your brand?
What are you doing to grow sales and take care of your pipeline?
- What can your team do virtually that they have historically done in person?
- What other products/services could you pivot to and serve existing clients as well as attract new/different ones?
- What new sectors/markets could also benefit from your core products/services?
- Virtual Sales – Are you able to continue selling in a virtual capacity? What are the people and marketing resources needed to do this?
- What technologies could/should be considered to leverage virtual work transition in each of the categories listed above?
- How are your current tech gaps creating slowed forward progress?
- How could those tech gaps best be overcome immediately and what needs to happen for a more sustainable change?
- Is there anything in your current tech stack that could be better utilised in your current environment?
3. Build out a 30, 60 and 90 day Covid-19 action plan
Now you have reviewed the critical components of your business under Covid-19, build a 30, 60 and 90 day action plan to ensure that you prioritise the changes that need to be implemented within your business. These action plans should be reviewed regularly to assess performance and also optimise your approach to overall strategy and implementation.